Where is it going wrong for Liverpool?

Still suffering a hangover from Liverpool’s 3-1 capitulation at the hands of West Ham, I’ve found myself reading many tweets about where things have gone wrong. Fingers are being pointed at individual players and even at a manager who was so correctly lauded last season. To make things worse, the Super Sunday game has started with Manchester United’s ‘Van Gaalacticos’ looking like a top class team again. How have things turned so bad, so quickly?

The answer is simple really, it starts with the sale of Luis Suarez and ends with the current squad. Losing Suarez was a catastrophic blow to the Reds and many fans brushed it off as if it wouldn’t matter. ‘We managed without Owen, Torres etc.’ Maybe that was the case in some respects, but the reality is we have never had a player as gifted as Suarez in the Premier League era.

What has become crystal clear to me is we aren’t just missing his goals, but his ability to keep the opposition occupied for an entire 90 minutes. Forget about the bans, how often was Suarez injured? Never. He was vital to our success and we were naive to think we could replace his influence with a deeper squad.

The theory was that we couldn’t necessarily replace his goals, so we will strengthen our defence to compensate a little. So far it’s not working. There isn’t a single member of our defensive unit that inspires confidence defensively and the time it takes for them to improve is going to cost us dearly. In the meantime, we haven’t got the firepower available to out score opponents like we did last season.

I’m not here to criticise Rodgers in any way, I feel sorry for him, because fans are already getting on his back. I’m also not pointing out individual players because at this stage I feel that is unfair. Replacing Suarez is an impossible job, but I would have preferred to see the likes of Di Maria, Falcao or Sanchez come in as a direct replacement. Again, the reality is Liverpool have never been able to sign players of that proven quality.

The flip side of all this is we do have a deeper squad full of potential, but that means that we as fans have got to settle for a battle to get back into the top 4 rather than a title challenge. Anything else will be a bonus. A Suarez inspired Liverpool overachieved last season and this has distorted the expectations of many Liverpool fans. We have to accept we are still building. Our financial position doesn’t allow us to go head to head with United, City, Chelsea and Arsenal. It is something we are working towards and our stadium development will help towards that goal. What we must not do is lose patience with Rodgers and start abusing individual players. We need to stick together because we are in for a bumpy ride.



Competition Time

We all love free stuff right? Course we do! So here is a fantastic competition that is sure to excite you.

If like us you have spent many an hour in front of LMA Manager, Championship Manager or Football Manager you will know the feeling and emotional roller coaster that comes with playing those games. Well author Chris Darwen has taken that one step further and written a diary based around his fictional manager Johnny Cooper, all based on his experience of Championship Manager. In celebration of his forthcoming second book “Johnny Cooper, Championship Manager: The Second Season Syndrome (according to Champ Man)”, he is giving people the chance to win a signed paperback of his debut ” Johnny Cooper, Championship Manager: The Story of Mansfield Town FC 99/00 (according to Championship Manager)”.

All you have to do is email; johnnycooper@chrisdarwen.com with the answer to the following question:
Who ends the 99/00 season as Johnny Coopers top scorer?
The competition ends on Friday October 3rd and the winner will be announced afterwards.

You can purchase a copy of “Johnny Coper, Championship Manager: The Story of Mansfield Town 99/00 (according to Championship. Manager) from here.
Good Luck


5 Reasons Why……. This Transfer Window was the best for a while.

Continuing our look at 5 reasons why…..
Our 5 today comes from SiRZ owner Ryan and he explains why the last transfer window was the best one for the Premier League in a long while.

1/ We had top quality players coming in

The first reason this window was better than any other was the simple fact we had quality players join the ranks of the Premier League. Di Maria, Falcao, Diego Costa, Sanchez, Mangala, Cabella & returns for Balotelli & Fabregas all go to show that despite recent claims, the Premier League is where all the top players want to ply their trade. Infact of the top 3 World Players of the Year only one hasn’t graced the League and that’s Messi, who it would take a lot to persuade him away from his beloved Barcelona.

Diego Costa has adapted well to the Premier League.

2/ The Premier League now has the 3 most natural strikers in the game today.

It already had one in Sergio Aguero. But now with Diego Costa and Falcao joining Chelsea and. Manchester United respectively, we have the three top goal scorers who will hopefully lead their forward lines and continue to build on their own personal reputations. Certainly with Diego Costa already looking settled in front of the Chelsea creative machine he looks like he could be the missing part of their puzzle. Also with Liverpool acquiring Balotelli and Welbeck moving to Arsenal, those two will be worth keeping eyes on as they have have a natural ability to find the back of the net when played down the middle.

Aguero carries the weight of the City fans on his shoulders in what they hope will be a title winning year.

3/ Liverpool got rid of their albatross.

Come on I did well to get three without mentioning the obvious. Luis Suarez has finally got his gnashers out of Anfield and although now FIFA got bitch slapped down by CAS they could have got a bit more for him, I think every Liverpool fan will be happy that he and the circus his actions attract has finally departed. He had some excellent solo match winning performances for Liverpool but often his actions were overshadowed by his cannibal routine, now hopefully every football fan will sit and enjoy the smooth counter attacking football Liverpool play and if not there’s still Mario who can cause us some amusement.

Its the guy banned from football playing for his new team that was banned from signing players!

4/ Some English players got some great moves.

Micah Richards must have been fucking annoyed being at Manchester City, A product of their youth academy and once thought to be the next big defender for club and country and rightly so. He found himself marginalised and under utilised by City and despite a few injury concerns never got the game time he deserved. Now with a loan move to Fiorentina he should hopefully get a lot more time on the pitch and show City where they fucked up. Another good move was for Danny Welbeck aka Dat Guy, his desire to play and his bulldog chasing the ball mentality often meant he was played out of position at Manchester United so never lived up to the hype surrounding him. Hopefully Arsene Wenger will play him down the middle and let Dat Guy score a him 10 or so goals this year, my only concern with that is Arsenal still don’t have a guaranteed 20 goal a season scorer which the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea all posses. Elsewhere Thomas Ince made a clever move to Hull who have altered their play in the last two seasons to utilise wide men. Ashley Cole finally fucked off although unfortunately it was only to Italy, but it means we don’t have to watch him on a weekly basis unless we choose to. Frank Lampard proved he still needed to improve his bank balance to single handily keep Greggs afloat with a move first to the MLS and then to Manchester City on loan. and Manchester United finally cut their losses on “The Next Paul Scholes” Tom Cleverley and allowed him to join Villa on loan until his contract expires in the summer.

Thomas Ince should settle right in under Steve Bruces watchful eye.

5/ Transfer Deadline Day was brilliant as always.

Jim White, Purple Dildos, Fuck Her Right In the Pussy chants, Jason Bent doing an Odemwingie, Fans turning up at other teams grounds and ‘Arry blanking an interview in the car I love he randomness of Deadline Day, roll on January!

Evertons new signing is a massive one.

Agree or Disagree? Get in touch the normal ways on social media or commenting on the article we read them all.


Our Premier League Predictions


Top 4

1. Chelsea
2. Arsenal
3. Man United
4. Man City

Bottom 3

18. WBA
19. Leicester City
20. Burnley

Player to watch: Alexis Sanchez, Eden Hazard will be top stars this season. Keep an eye on Remy Cabella at Newcastle as a surprise hit.

Young player: A trio of Raheem Sterling, Jordon Ibe and Lazar Markovic would terrify teams. Looking forward to see if Suso can make an impact too. Elsewhere, can Danny Ings score at the top level?

Top scorer: Diego Costa


Ryan Howe

Top 4

1. Chelsea
2. Manchester United
3. Arsenal
4. Manchester City

Bottom 3

18. Hull
19. Burnley
20. Leicester

Player to watch: Juan Mata. He is going to be at the hub of everything creative and will have a big bearing on Uniteds season. Or Bojan

Young Player: Ryan Bertrand. Just think this May be the season he kicks on.

Top Scorer: Romelu Lukaku


Ross Jones

Top 4

1. Chelsea
2. Man City
3. Arsenal
4. Man United

Bottom 3

18. Burnley
19. Aston Villa
20. Leicester

Player To Watch – Eden Hazard – will be decided whether he becomes world class this season.

Young Player – Jordan Ibe – If he gets a chance could be a sprightly show like Sterling for Liverpool.

Top Scorer – Mame Diouf / Bojan Krcic – 35 goals each.


Jade Li

Top 4

1. Chelsea
2. Man city
3. Liverpool
4. Arsenal

Bottom 3

18. Hull
19. Leicester
20. Burnley

Player to watch: Coutinho

Top scorer: Aguero

Young player: Coutinho



Pete Walton

Top 4

1. Man City
2. Chelsea
3.  Man United
4. Liverpool

Bottom 3

18. Hull
19. Southampton
20. Leicester

Player to watch: Going to go with Mata especially under Van Gaal going to be interesting to see him develop this season.

Top Scorer: Sergio Aguero

Young player: Mangala



So what do you think? Agree with us on anything? Or are we barking up the wrong tree? Let us know via our usual lines.


We need to talk about Luis.

Today I was planning to a piece on the poor performance by the England team in the World Cup but then I witnessed something we thought I would never see again. The sight of Luis Suarez biting another player.

Let me preface this by saying that I am a Manchester United fan, but even I appreciate Suarez as a top player and I completely agree with his clean sweep of awards last season as he was phenomenal and almost pushed Liverpool to their first league title. The thing is this time, unlike the others times there are no words of support coming from Liverpool, fellow pundits or anyone. It’s almost as if the patience has run out for the Uruguayan from everyone. There is even talk about Adidas and 888 Poker withdrawing their endorsements with the striker.

So in case you live under a rock what actually happened? Suarez and Chiellini clashed shortly before the goal that ultimately decided the clash and eliminated the Italians, at first look the Uruguayan seemed to run and headbutt the Italian defender and both men went down. The first inkling that something was different from a standard clash in the box was the sight of Suarez grabbing his front teeth as if he had been elbowed. It wasn’t until the second and third replay that I thought hold on a minute, surely not, not again, he didn’t just bite Chiellini did he? The answer is yes, yes he did. It became obvious when Chiellini pulled down his shirt to show 5 teeth marks on his shoulder. The whole thing cast a massive shadow over a big win for Uruguay, the Italians elimination and Pirlo’s & Buffon’s last international game.

So the big question is whats next? Well there is no doubt that FIFA will impose a ban on him that could have potential ramifications not just for country but for club as well as they could put a worldwide ban on him, although this is highly unlikely as it would leave them more open to appeal and reduction under various human rights infringements. If they go down the route of just banning him from all international football it may make him more desirable to teams looking to sign him from Liverpool as they wouldn’t have the burden and risk of him going halfway across the world to play football for Uruguay, so he would essentially have a two week rest every couple of months which would probably make him an even more useful player for the club. As we have already said he risks losing potential endorsements with this latest blot on his copy book, although in his native country he is seen as a bit of a hard man and uses it to trade on his likeness in adverts.

The thing is as well is if this was an isolated incident then perhaps it could be written off as a lapse of judgement but it’s the regularity he seems to do something controversial that would alarm me if I was a Liverpool fan, after all this is now the second world cup in a row that Suarez has done something to cast a shadow on his performances. I have seen various things saying that this is like his way of blowing off when his frustration gets to its maximum, but surely fans would prefer him to go and destroy a team with a magnificent solo goal? or a bit of outstanding play like he showed last season in the Premier League? And if it is the case then why did he not do it last season when the pressure was on Liverpool  in their title run in.

Either way FIFA need to exercise the full force of their power in this instance more than anything to show that they are not as corrupt as they seem. Let me know your thoughts?


Is it now time for Liverpool to cash in on Luis Suarez?

When the final whistle blew on that extraordinary 3-3 draw between Crystal Palace and Liverpool, one of the most striking images was of an inconsolable Luis Suarez. A season of redemption, marked by an incredible personal performance appeared to have ended in spectacular heartache. Many Liverpool fans suggested that he felt like this because he cared about the club so much and that as a result, he was guaranteed to still be a Liverpool player next season. However, I’d seen this Luis Suarez before……

I was at Anfield last season when Liverpool were knocked out of the Europa League by Zenit and I distinctly remember a similarly crestfallen Luis Suarez after that match ended. Some will say he was just as disappointed to lose and to some extent I believe this, but I think there was more to it. I was lucky enough to be present at the Man of the Match award presentation after the game and something clearly wasn’t right with Luis. Was this the precise moment when he realised his future wasn’t with Liverpool FC?

Brendan Rodgers managed the Suarez transfer saga admirably in the summer and perhaps an even bigger achievement was to then get the very best out of the man. Despite his heroics, it appears that it may be in vain as Liverpool have faltered in the crucial stage of the title race. Suarez may feel he has delivered Liverpool Champions League football and that at 27, he may not be prepared to be part of an ‘unfinished article’ for another season.

Next season will be a difficult one for many reasons at Liverpool. A 1st season in the Champions League for Brendan Rodgers will be tough, particularly as they will be unseeded. They will need to considerably strengthen one of the smallest squads playing at the top level, with a budget that is modest compared to their main rivals. The big question is, if a team like Real Madrid pay the big bucks, would another pot of cash help Liverpool’s progress more than keeping Suarez?

I asked a similar question at the start of the season and the answer was overwhelming. Suarez has helped drive Liverpool on, but at some point the fans of the Reds may have to accept that Suarez deserves a chance to play at the very top level. If you were Suarez, imagine playing in a front 3 for Real Madrid alongside Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo. Maybe now is the perfect time to part ways……



How to change football for the better.

We all often sit around and offer opinions on how to make football better and here is one we would like to see happen. Lets stop transfers for players under 21. Now we can understand any of you scoffing at the prospect but consider this, how many players under 21 can you say are worth the transfer fees you see banded about for them?

Take for example Luke Shaw of Southampton, now if you were to believe the rumors he is valued at around £30m. £30m for a player who is only just past 50 games for his club and one full England cap is far too much, we can understand Southampton placing that value on his head to try and ward off potential suitors but it shouldn’t be an issue. Southampton are no longer in the position they were with Walcott, Bale or Oxlaide-Chamberlian where they have to sell as they aren’t in the Premiership or in financial difficulty they should simply say he is not for sale full stop.

Daniel Sturridge is another example of youngsters moving about when they are too young, although he himself must take some blame for this one. Sturridge started his career at Manchester City but had his head turned by the money that was on offer from the up and coming billionaire plaything that was Chelsea and allowed his contract to expire. Once at Chelsea his career floundered, he was rarely used as an out and out striker, instead coming on as a wide player where his speed was a great attribute. We are glad he is now showing his true skill and attacking quality now at Liverpool where he has to be in line for featuring in Teams of the Year.

There is also the argument that a player should show a degree of loyalty, after all a young player has been a product of teams youth development system and should show thanks by helping the team to the best of his ability. After all if the player is truly good enough he will still be able to command a big enough fee when he turns 21, thereby giving something back to the club on two levels. We look at some of the situations and tribunals you see (no doubt there will be one this year with Thomas Ince) and clubs rarely get much above £3m and you feel sorry for them as they are losing someone who is probably a star turn for their team. Sometimes as well the players don’t get the benefit either, like we mentioned Sturridge is and example of this, as is Nick Powell, Willfried Zaha and Glenn Johnson (who was Roman Abramovich’s first signing when he came to Chelsea) his progress was majorly held back by that move at 18 and didn’t flourish until he went to Portsmouth and then to Liverpool. We just hope the likes of Shaw & Will Hughes see sense and give something back to the clubs who have shown faith in them.



Why Raheem Sterling is the real deal and deserves a spot in England’s World Cup squad.

Raheem Sterling lacks the confidence and experience of regular game time, looking afraid of his own shadow at times when he gets a game.

@adamdellboy 2/12/2013

I’m writing this on Sunday 9th February, two months have passed since then and Liverpool fans are basking in the glory of a magnificent 5-1 demolition of the then league leaders Arsenal. Central to this victory was a certain Raheem Sterling, scorer of two goals, unlucky not to get a hattrick and the deserved recipient of the Man of the Match award. He tormented the hapless Arsenal defence all afternoon, his electric turn of pace even blowing away the rapid Kieran Gibbs, playing with the confidence of a man who is starting to knuckle down and realise his true potential. So what has changed in just two months?


Sterling has suddenly become a key player, making the starting XI on a regular basis , which is exactly what I thought his development needed. He’s responded in some fashion, terrifying defences with a more positive approach which has resulted in him scoring and creating goals in addition to winning 3 penalties. At the age of 19, he’s no longer a potential star but a genuine threat to opposition defences. The words of the man himself show exactly how regular football has improved his game;

I had to be more confident. I wasn’t confident enough to have a shot myself and instead I’d pass it to someone like [Luis] Suarez. I just said to myself that I had to step up and start running at defenders again; taking responsibility.”

I’ve also had the chance to do that week in, week out. I can feel a bit of momentum now.

My agent knows me as well as anyone else; he knows my game, and he asked the club for a couple of DVDs from last season when I’d played well. He wanted to show me the difference. Last season, I’d have beaten a man in two touches and raced away.

Suddenly, I was going safe; passing to someone else. I didn’t realise I was doing it. I needed to be more confident. You have to respect the senior players around you but you have to stamp your own mark on the game.

Although Raheem is the butt of many (false) Twitter rumours, he does seem to have finally settled down and appears to be at home in the North West. In his recent MOTD interview he came across very well and you can’t help but feel that Brendan Rodgers has been a key factor in all of this. The big question is can he break into the England squad in time for the World Cup?


In my opinion, with Theo Walcott expected to miss the tournament in Brazil, Raheem has a great chance of being on that plane. He has many things in his favour which may sway Roy Hodgson. He is undoubtedly the form wide playing Englishman in the Premier League, alongside perhaps Adam Johnson. Last year’s great hope Andros Townsend seems to have lost his way amidst all the overnight adulation, whilst Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is playing more centrally. Raheem is a player Hodgson knows well and with his club captain Stevie Gerrard also captaining the England team, he has someone to guide him through the experience.

Sterling can also play anywhere across the pitch, combining frightening pace and skill with an eye for goal. He also works his ass off defensively and has worked hard on his physical strength this season. His only weakness is perhaps his final ball, but that will improve also. Just think of a front 3 of Rooney, Sturridge and Sterling, with Rooney playing the Suarez role. Suddenly England’s attack looks extremely threatening. For that reason alone, surely Raheem deserves a place on the squad.


Liverpool’s squad – Will the required reinforcements come January?

Let’s pretend for 1 minute that it is Monday 30th December 2013. After a busy holiday schedule, it is now time for the Liverpool staff and fans to look at the number of points collected by the team. How is this going to impact on the team’s January transfer activity? and how is it planning out the rest of the season? title/ top4/ top6 contenders?
My straight forward answer to that would be NO for both questions.

Everybody knows what Liverpool’s flaws are and hopefully Brendan Rodgers will address that sooner rather than later. However, as mentioned in his pre-match press conference today, he will not rush in buying players just for the sake of doing so. The appropriate player should be available at the appropriate price. He has proven that it is possible 12 months ago by bringing in Sturridge and Coutinho who have done great at the club since.

Despite having 10 recognised defenders in the first team squad, Liverpool’s defence has been quite porous this season. BR has tried different formations – 2 or 3 CBs – with different player combinations but has yet to find the solution. Another weakness in this defence is the left back position. With Jose Enrique out due to injury, young Joe Flanagan has come in. Don’t get me wrong, he put in a great performance in the Everton game and has been decent since coming in but just lacks that extra bit of quality and experience. Watch out for the words ‘decent’, ‘quality’ and ‘experience’.

People have been crying out for BR to get another defensive midfielder to either replace Lucas or at least provide some competition. While this would be good, I think a combination of the likes of Lucas, Gerrard, Allen and Henderson will have to do for now.
You must have been living under a rock or out of this world to not know that Coutinho has been phenomenal for Liverpool since joining them last winter. It was there for everyone to see, the lack of creativity in the Liverpool side when the Brazilian magician was out due to injury earlier this season. Having said that, I would not mind another of BR’s tricks to bring in a quality playmaker in January, with a lot of people pointing to Mata who seem to be out of Mourinho’s plans.

Liverpool’s forwards, what else to say except for the phenom Suarez and his striking partner Sturridge. Unfortunately the latter is injured and all the responsibility has fallen on Suarez’s shoulders and how he responded to the challenge? Well everybody knows… 4 goals against Norwich and another 2 against West Ham. Yes, these are middle to bottom table teams but still that amount of goals are remarkable. Aspas was brought in during the summer transfer window but has yet to impress and is also coming back from injury. Only time will tell whether he’s able to adapt to the team and show us what he’s really made of.

All in all, I think that Liverpool should strive to get a left back and an attacking midfield during the January transfer window and if a defensive midfield comes available at the right price, then go for that too.
As for the table standings come May, as I have said since the beginning of the season, Liverpool will be challenging for the top 4. Despite being second now, they do not have the quality yet to be title contenders – not that I would mind if they prove me wrong.


Liverpool already showing why strength in depth really matters.

Liverpool have enjoyed the start of a season that has got fans dreaming once again. The problem with this is that when/if it starts to unravel, the disappointment amongst these same fans will be even greater. In some respects the heightened expectation may become another enemy to them. Before Sunday’s abject 3-1 defeat at Hull, the Reds were sitting pretty just 4 points behind the pacesetters Arsenal, having only been beaten by the Gunners themselves and high flying Southampton. My fear was that some narrow wins were merely papering over the cracks and that at some point, Liverpool’s lack of squad depth was going to bite back at them.


The announcement before the match by Brendan Rodgers that Daniel Sturridge may miss 6-8 weeks injured, sent many Reds on Twitter into meltdown. Amongst the group of Champions League place contenders, news like this undoubtably hits Liverpool the hardest. Man United have coped ok without RVP. Rooney has stepped up and they can always rely on goals from elsewhere. Arsenal have barely noticed the absence of Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lucas Podolski, as Mesut Ozil has been sensational, adding to the incredible goal scoring form of both Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud. City have countless goal scoring options and despite feeling the absence of Vincent Kompany away from home in particular, they have suitable defensive cover to manage most games.

What was most concerning about the loss to Hull was despite dominating possession, Liverpool created next to nothing. There were no threatening runs from the wide men or fullbacks and crosses were non existent. None of the midfield players found a telling pass or managed to get into the box at any point. All 4 of their most recent goals have come from set pieces with little threat from open play and apart from the SAS, you can’t see where they are likely to get a regular source of goals. As Liverpool struggle away from home as an attacking unit, their problems heap pressure on the defence and despite some heroics from Simon Mignolet, they look nowhere near capable of keeping a clean sheet. Kolo Toure seems to be one of those players who is capable of a major defensive lapse, Mamadou Sakho hasn’t settled in and is now confined to the bench, whilst the injury to Jose Enrique is causing further selection problems as the untested Jon Flanagan has been thrown in at the deep end(to his credit). Skrtel and Agger, whilst both great players, seem to struggle aerially and from set pieces(neither match up to Sami Hyypia in that respect).


The biggest problem is that Rodgers can do little to change this, particularly with the loss of Sturridge. There is no league Cup to give the fringe players a competitive game in a relatively safe environment and no European games to do similar. With an extremely testing set of December fixtures ahead(Spurs, City and Chelsea away), Liverpool are likely to suffer injuries/suspensions, further putting pressure on the fringe players who are struggling to make an impact. Iago Aspas has found it hard to adjust to the English game, picking up a lengthy injury layoff in the process. He and fellow Spaniard Luis Alberto have yet to find the net for their new club. Jordan Henderson offers commitment and energy, but lacks craft and a killer instinct. Victor Moses doesn’t seem to show the same hunger as Romelu Lukaku does at Everton and looks as though he feels he has nothing to prove, despite demanding more game time in the press this week!!! Raheem Sterling lacks the confidence and experience of regular game time, looking afraid of his own shadow at times when he gets a game. As for £15m Joe Allen, I’m still suffering flashbacks from his horrific miss at Everton last week. They are all young lads and will improve with time, but if Liverpool really want Champions League football, then time isn’t on their side. Liverpool need these guys to deliver and quick.


If Liverpool can win their home fixtures this month and at least get one win from their three tricky away matches, then they can go into January still in the hunt for a top four spot. At that stage the transfer window becomes crucial, but it will be difficult to attract real quality to the club at that time. Rodgers managed it last season with Coutinho and Sturridge, but can lightning strike twice? I’m certain Rodgers knows his squad lacks the type of depth that means he can change his side effectively and make game changing substitutions. He doesn’t have this at the current time and I fear it is going to hurt Liverpool badly over the Christmas period and that now is the defining point of their season.


I predicted 5th/6th for Liverpool at the start of the season and I’m not ready to upgrade that placing yet. I’m hoping that by the end of January, I will have more reasons to do so…….